Location: Vienna, Virginia, United States

A graduate of Dartmouth College (2005) and Washington and Lee University School of Law (2010). These are my personal blogs, and the musings expressed on them do not reflect the positions of my employer. They do reflect my readings, thoughts, and aspirations, which I figure is good enough.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Quick Baseball Post Part Deux

Just another quick baseball post before I really get down to work this morning.

This needed to happen because of this article at, in which Jeff Merron hails Leo Mazzone as the #1 assistant coach of all time.

I have no problem with the nod to Mazzone (and let it be known that myself and half the writers and wanna be writers who have ever written about Mazzone has used the "Leo Rocks" phrase).

What I do have a problem with is his top ten list. And what better way to critique a list than by listing its problems?

1) Top Ten lists by and large suck, unless they mention Mookie Wilson or they're being read by William Shatner. I still like Letterman's Top Ten lists, honestly, but they're just not as good as they once were. And in any other forum, they're wildly unneccessary.

2) You can't have a "Greatest of All Time" List and not feature anyone who made their biggest impact before 1980. Norm Chow (32 years of experience) and Charlie Lau (hitting coach who worked with George Brett) are the closest Merron comes, but why give a list the superlative "Greatest of All Time" when the majority of "Great Assistants" have done their best work in the past decade?

This list is more of a "Most High Profile Assistant Coaches of All Time".

3) Charlie Weis is on the list at #4, but Romeo Crennel isn't on the list anywhere. The Pats were known (are known, although their defense is much weaker this year) for their defensive prowess, if I understand pro football correctly. Charlie Weis admittedly did a lot for the Pats as their offensive coordinator, but for my money, no one has been a better chess player, to use an analogy I hate, than Romeo Crennel.

4) Mel Stottlemyre at #10. Mel shouldn't be on this list. Mel isn't anywhere close to being on this list. Mel might not make my list of Top Ten Pitching Coaches in the Majors, if only because he does essentially nothing for his pitchers. He's easily eclipsed by Mike Maddux, Rick Peterson, Dave Duncan, and several others. Stottlemyre had a nice career as a Yankee pitcher back in the day, and is one of Joe Torre's trusted crew, but as a pitching coach, who is supposed to fix flawed mechanics, notice tired pitchers and help develop young talent, Mel is anything but a boon to his team.

Look at the Yankees pitcher usage in the past few years. Part of it is Torre's fault for overusing certain relievers (Paul Quantrill, for instance). But Mel didn't do anything with Jeff Weaver. He didn't correct Javier Vazquez' horrible mechanics last year. In fact, articles have been written about how Mel's time with the Yankees is up, since he has never really demonstrated the ability to make pitchers better, and may have in fact hindered development, no matter where he has coached.

This is in the article I link above, but I think it deserves to be quoted here (Quote taken from Jeff Pearlman, author of The Bad Guys Won)

..."Mel had this thing about strikeouts," said Ed Hearn, the Mets' backup catcher in 1986. "He wanted Ron [Darling] to throw more breaking stuff. He did, and he was never quite as good afterward as he was in '86."

..."Mel just wasn't very good with mechanics," said a former Mets reliever who asked not be named. "If you had a problem with your delivery or if you were trying to work things out after being hurt, you were pretty much on your own.

Leo Mazzone is hailed as a guru because it has been shown that when he gets prospects, he can sometimes help them develop into good pitchers. He keeps his pitchers on a different throwing plan than other pitching coaches and their pitchers.

Some people will say "Oh, but Mel won 5 Series Rings." No no, Mel didn't win those rings. Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Roger Clemen and some of the best offense of the century won the rings with the Yankees. In '86, with the Mets, it was Dwight Gooden, Bobby Ojeda, Ron Darling and crew. Mel has always worked with talent, but he hasn't made the talent better. In fact a lot of people credit Mel with Dwight Gooden's implosion (although to be fair, most of it was drugs and more drugs).


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